Those with criminal records know what a struggle it is to get back into the workforce with the expansion of background checks and availability of your record to almost anyone who requests the information. Mistakes made in the past may haunt you forever and prevent you from integrating back into society after you have paid your dues. Because this system often works against citizens who truly need opportunities and wish to live successful lives, expungements have been made available in certain cases to give individuals who crave and deserve a second chance.
What is an expungement?
An expungement is a means by which you can be released from the penalties attached to your conviction and effectively seal your criminal record from public view. Government agencies will always have access to your records, but as far as job applications and public records, you will essentially be given a fresh start and the ability to reintegrate into society without the weight of your past conviction on your shoulders.
What kinds of cases are eligible for expungement?
You are eligible to apply for expungement under the conditions that you 1) have fully and successfully completed all terms of your probation sentence and 2) are not currently being charged with, on probation or serving a sentence for another criminal offense.
Some criminal charges are never eligible for expungement, including sex offenses against children. Sodomy, lewd acts and oral copulation with a child, as well as statutory rape, are considered permanently part of your record in California, and a judge cannot expunge these charges.
You will be able to state your case for expungement in front of a judge if you are deemed eligible, and considerations will be made according to your behavior during probation and your original sentence, the severity of your conviction, your overall criminal history and your current goals and opportunities that may be benefitted by expungement. You should seek guidance from an experienced attorney to represent you when requesting this type of relief, in order to ensure the most positive outcome.
What can an expungement do for me?
Truly, an expungement can be the first step in improving and changing your life. You will have the ability to seek employment without discrimination, apply for professional licenses in California and may even help you avoid deportation if your residency is in question because of a criminal conviction.
How can I find out more?
Expungements, as with all criminal matters, can be complicated, and you generally do not get several tries at these cases. It is important to seek help from a professional in order to have your best chance at regaining your freedom. If you have further questions regarding expungements or are seeking legal counsel, please contact the Law Offices of Alisha A. Wood to inquire about how we can help you improve your life and that of your family.
The Law Offices of Alisha A. Wood
San Diego, California